Cancer drugs are crowding in to an already cramped pipeline this year, with hundreds of immuno-oncology hopefuls now taking a shot at clinical testing. That’s according to a new cancer report from PhRMA, which counted 1,120 oncology drugs in the clinic so far this year — a massive increase from previous years — and that’s just in the US.
For perspective, there were only 836 cancer therapies counted by PhRMA in 2015, which means the pipeline has swelled 34% in less than three years. The organization only counted drugs already in the clinic or awaiting review from the FDA. That means there’s a significant backlog of therapies in preclinical development, waiting to elbow their way into the fray.
Of the 1,120 therapies in the clinic, nearly 300 are immuno-oncology drugs or vaccines. And just what counts as immuno-oncology? The organization said it counted “recognized classes” such as CAR-T therapies, bi-specific antibodies, cytokine therapies, immune checkpoint modulators, oncolytic virus therapies, and vaccines.
The report takes a regional look at a trend we’ve been tracking for a while now. Back in January, an Endpoints News panel discussed the rapid expansion of the oncology pipeline (in particular, immuno-oncology) at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. That report identified a mind-boggling 2,004 immuno-oncology agents, with 940 in the clinic and the rest in preclinical development.
For its part, PhRMA remains upbeat about the pipeline, touting the industry’s innovations and calling attention to the 85% of cancer drugs in development it says are first-in-class treatments. And the organization is quick to point out that the need for new cancer treatments is still crucial. Although cancer death rate has declined 26% since its peak in the 1990s, more than 1.7 million new cases of cancer are expected to develop in the US in 2018.
For a complete list of the 1,120 cancer drugs in development, check out PhRMA’s new list.
Image: Steve Ubl, CEO of PhRMA, speaks at an Endpoints News event in San Francisco, January 2017 Endpoints News
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